The At-Home Agent Model continues to change call center operations. At-Home Agent Industry Leader, Michelle Rowan, predicts that the number of U.S. companies using the At-Home Agent model will increase to 80% by 2013. Companies currently utilizing remote agents report streamlined operations, improved customer service, decreased call center costs, and increased agent retention and job satisfaction. The benefits of At-Home Agents are compelling and implementation is becoming a viable option for many contact centers. For centers considering the use of remote agents, Pipkins simplifies the workforce management or WFM implementation process and provides sophisticated WFM tools to ensure optimum results for at-home workers.
Pipkins’ @HomeVantage was designed to meet the needs of the At-Home Agent trend and can be used with Vantage Point, or integrated into another system to leverage existing technology. @HomeVantage utilizes Pipkins’ powerful forecasting tools to ensure optimal scheduling. The agent self-scheduling feature gives agents control to manage their schedules with an easy-to-use checkout method.
Pipkins’ @HomeVantage is easily adaptable to the Hub and Spoke model in which agents begin working in the call center, then after a period of time move to an at-home position within a certain mile radius of the center. Furthermore, this provides flexibility for the agent to come into the center during emergencies, company meetings, or for other activities. Agents can be part of the “hub” schedule generation process or build their own schedules according to requirements generated by the workforce team. Vantage Point schedules brick and mortar call centers as well as At-Home Agents. Optimal scheduling is ensured to allow At-Home Agents flexibility to fill staffing gaps.
The Pipkins scheduling tool can be fully utilized when contact centers use the At-Home Agent model. This WFM implementation for the At-Home Agent Virtual Model provides optimal utilization of remote agents to fill staffing requirements based on business needs while increasing agent morale and autonomy. @HomeVantage provides self-service scheduling tools that allow agents to use an easy checkout method for self-scheduling that accommodates staffing requirements based on business needs. Virtual agents pick and choose blocks of time in which they can build their own shifts and ensure rules specific to organizational needs are met, including break and lunch times, hours worked, and any other specific needs determined by the company.
Pipkins offers two additional tools to maximize the success of At-Home Agents: Web Agent Viewing and Empowerment (W.A.V.E.), and Real Time Adherence.
Pipkins’ Web Agent Viewing and Empowerment (W.A.V.E.) functionality enhances the At-Home Agent Model by providing productivity tools to agents and supervisors to make their workday easier. W.A.V.E. empowers agents to manage day-to-day activities, as well as personal performance, through online productivity tools. The functionality of this WFM implementation enables agents in the front and back office to:
- View schedules, as well as changes made on a real time basis
- Submit change requests and trade shifts with other agents based on business rules
- View KPI’s delivered real time through the notification system, allowing agents to quickly change behavior to meet goals
- Manage vacation time through automated requests according to business rules defined by the HR system
- Communicate with other agents via a bulletin board system
Pipkins’ Real Time Adherence gives managers tools to remotely monitor agent activities. Supervisors are no longer tethered to desktop clients and VPN networks that limit when critical information is accessible. By using a web browser or smartphone, supervisors have the ability to:
- Manage agent schedule changes and requests
- Manage and process vacation request information
- View Real-Time Adherence information with one click schedule edits, or send messages directly to agents
- Send custom notification messages to individuals or groups of agents through a real time system
- Run contact center and back office reporting metrics such as agent statistics, adherence and organizational statistics
The At-Home Agent Model creates a win-win situation for both agents and companies by improving efficiency and saving money. Pipkins simplifies the WFM Implementation for remote agents by providing resources and tools that ensure the success of the At-Home Agent model.
Pipkins is a participant in the At-Home Agent seminars, designed exclusively for organizations considering the at-home model, currently in pilot, or expanding and refining their existing model. Attendees of At-Home Agent Seminars range from blue-chip companies in continuous improvement mode to those studying the model and building business cases. Proven strategies and business cases will be the blueprint for the sessions, with high interaction and benchmarking among attendees to leverage learning and best practices, including effective WFM implementations to maximize the benefits of the at-home models.
Dates for 2012 At-Home seminars are:
Remote Agent Summit, February 21-23, Dallas, TX
At-Home Agent Strategies for Success
- March 29-30, Tampa, FL
- June 26-27, Toronto, Canada
- July 25-26, Boston, MA
- August 23-24, Denver, CO
- October 18-19, Dallas, TX
Pipkins, Inc. is a leading supplier of workforce management software and services to the call center industry. Vantage Point, Pipkins’ premier product, is the most accurate forecasting and scheduling tool on the market. Pipkins’ @HomeVantage gives organizations the ability to effectively manage their agents and can be used with Vantage Point or integrated into another workforce management system to leverage existing technology. Pipkins’ systems forecast and schedule more than 300,000 agents in over 500 locations across all industries worldwide.